This I believe

Julian - Lenexa, Kansas
Entered on January 12, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

Throughout the 1960’s, African Americans fought and struggled for their rights. Through various demonstrations, protests, and sit-ins, they were able to overcome the prejudices and racism that had oppressed them since they arrived to this country. The whole world rejoiced as intolerance had been finally been beaten and all men could finally be treated equally. Or so we thought.

Nearly fifty years since the Civil Rights Movement, racism is just as prevalent as it was then. Only this time a new race is being attacked. This time a new minority is being slandered, ridiculed, and discriminated. This country has taken a huge step backwards in equal treatment. Hispanics have become the new target for America’s ignorance and intolerance. Its gotten so bad that there are no longer Cubans, Venezuelans, Peruvians, Bolivians, and Cubans. Rather all the nationalities have been summed up and grouped into one name: Mexican. We’ve been given this name because it’s the one that most people can associate with. With the “immigration problem” its easy to see why we’ve become associated with Mexico. I have no resentment for the Mexican people because they are just like everyone else. They are good honest people who work just as hard, if not harder, as everyone else.

I used to be so proud of my heritage. I would take every possible opportunity to either talk about my background or to speak Spanish just because I could. I was always the only one who had lived outside of the country, and I was so proud that I had lived in Mexico. I was never ashamed of who I was or where I had come from. However, as I got older, things started to change. As the immigration issue became more prominent, I began to shy away from telling others about who I was. I would no longer boast about my background. I actually practiced speaking Spanish incorrectly just so people wouldn’t pick up on my accent. I even gave myself a different middle name just so people wouldn’t associate me with Hispanics.

Though they may not seem very similar, the struggles Hispanics face and those of African Americans in the 60s are almost parallel. We have completely forgotten that they are humans just like us. Skin color and nationality should not affect how a person should be treated. When our country was first founded, it was called the land of opportunity. Without the help of immigrants, the country would be nothing like it is today.